Time: We’re Doomed When Antarctica Melts

Majorly dooooomed, per Bryan Walsh, one of Time’s resident climaysterics

Antarctica Melted in the Past, and As the Climate Warms, It’s Poised to Melt Again

Wait, wait, the headline says it has happened before, and will happen again? What made it happen before? Bryan goes on to describe that Antarctica has been relatively stable, boring, and for the most part non-melting (temps have been flat for this entire century), then

A new study in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that large of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet experienced significant melting during the Pleistocene Pliocene epoch*, between 5.3 and 2.6 million years ago, when atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were similar to where they are today, and temperatures were about 2 to 3 C warmer than they are now. It was a time when sea levels were some 66 ft. higher than they are today—more than high enough to swamp coastal cities. While scientists knew that all of Greenland and West Antarctica had to be ice-free at the time, the sediment data in the Nature Geoscience shows that the East Antarctic ice sheet must have retreated a couple hundred miles inland. “The East Antarctic Ice Sheet has been much more sensitive to climate change in the past than previously realized,” said the study’s lead author, Carys Cook of Imperial College London, in a statement.

If CO2 was the same as today, but temps were higher, then, wouldn’t that mean that something else was driving the warmth other than CO2? But, we’re all meant to freak out about CO2. Because apparently the Antarctic permafrost is melting faster than evah!!!! but, um, wait, ah

It’s important to note that global warming is not responsible for the permafrost melt here—that region of Antarctic actually experienced a cooling trend from 1986 to 2000, followed by relatively stable temperatures. The Scientific Letters researchers suggest instead that the melting is due to an increase in radiation from sunlight resulting from changing weather patterns that allow more light to reach the ground during the summer.

So, not global warming, and certainly not anthropogenic global warming. Just nature. Good to know. So the entire point of the article, which was to Blame humans, was false.

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3 Responses to “Time: We’re Doomed When Antarctica Melts”

  1. john says:

    Teach of course there are many factors that COULD result in temp changes. BUT in this case all the others have been ruled out. Unless perhaps you believe taht in the short time of 150 years our orbit has changed significantly or the solr out put changed. Teach if not CO2 to what do you attribute the rise in temos?

  2. gail Combs says:

    Oh good grief the Antarctic is INCREASING in SEA ICE. link and so far the Arctic has been below normal in temperature this summer. link

    What the MSM does not bother to tell you is this is called the bipolar seesaw and according to a peer-reviewed paper published last fall it may have great significance.

    Determining the natural length of the current interglacial
    P. C. Tzedakis, J. E. T. Channell, D. A. Hodell, H. F. Kleiven & L. C. Skinner
    Nature Geoscience 5, 138–141 (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo1358
    Received 23 May 2011 Accepted 28 November 2011 Published online 09 January 2012

    …We propose that the interval between the “terminal” oscillation of the bipolar seesaw, preceding an interglacial, and its first major reactivation represents a period of minimum extension of ice sheets away from coastlines…

    thus, the first major reactivation of the bipolar seesaw would probably constitute an indication that the transition to a glacial state had already taken place….

    …With respect to the end of interglacials, the MIS 5e– 5d transition represents the only relevant period with direct sea-level determinations and precise chronologies that allow us to infer a sequence of events around the time of glacial inception…

    …The timing of the hypothetical next glaciation remains unclear. Past interglacials can be used to draw analogies with the present, provided their duration is known. Here we propose that the minimum age of a glacial inception is constrained by the onset of bipolar-seesaw climate variability, which requires ice-sheets large enough to produce iceberg discharges that disrupt the ocean circulation. We identify the bipolar seesaw in ice-core and North Atlantic marine records by the appearance of a distinct phasing of interhemispheric climate and hydrographic changes and ice-rafted debris. The glacial inception during Marine Isotope sub-Stage 19c, a close analogue for the present interglacial, occurred near the summer insolation minimum, suggesting that the interglacial was not prolonged by subdued radiative forcing. Assuming that ice growth mainly responds to insolation forcing, this analogy suggests that the end of the current interglacial would occur within the next 1500 years….

    “…Thus, glacial inception occurred ~3 kyr before the onset of significant bipolar-seesaw variability…” translated that means the melting of the Arctic ice and the increase in Antarctic ice comes 3,000 yrs AFTER the transition to glaciation.

    Also notice the quote “was not subdued by radiative forcing”. This means since this interglacial was at a minimum node of eccentricity and precession index oscillation, insolation did not go down to as low a level as one normally expects to be needed to set off glaciation. But glaciation started anyway. This is because other factors were involved.

    Insolation is only one of a matrix of factors. Another important factor is obliquity. Glacial inception ALWAYS happens during falling obliquity, never during rising obliquity. (We’re in the middle of a down-cycle of falling obliquity now.)


  3. I have nothing to add. Gail kicked ass.

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